(Pain and Hope)

My name is Duc Vi Lam. I was borne on 19 th April 1961. My parents lives in SAIGON South VDucViLamietnam Before the communists came my family had a biscuit factory After the communists came, my family could not carry on, because we were not allow to. So the first year after the communists took over, I left school. I went to help my cousin sell things at an open air market. At that time I began to realise what the communists were like and I came to hate them, 
because they would not let people have their own businesses, they confiscated people's prossession without reason.

They sought to arrest people if they thought they did something wrong even without reason too. They forced young people to do useless work without paid wages and made work like slaves for nothing. They drafted young people into the army to fight other countries without reason. Except students were exempt from all compulsory service, so I thought I had better go back to school to get student's indentification card. When I was in the communists school, I was very bored because they spend so much time teaching politics, so I presented myself at the school to let them know that I was a student.

Year after year, I profited from this ploy to evade compulsory service. During this time my mother decided to let me try to escape Vietnam with my uncle, but I was not told. When the day came, my mother let me know one day before the intended escape, so I was very surprised as I did not know what was going on. Then my mother asked me only one question "do you want to go?" I replied "I have wanted to escape for a long time." Because at my age, I was nearly due for military service. Also I did not want to die for no reason. This was the main reason that made me decide to go. Even on the day uncle's family and I started from Saigon for Rachgia on the south coast I knew nothing about how they planned to escape. When we departed from Saigon with his friends I only knew I was to follow him.

Duc Vi Lam